France and cream do not go together like a horse and carriage. The country whose cuisine is famed for its excesses of butter and cream does not have much of the latter, or at least “not as we know it, Jim”. I’ve lived happily with the knowledge of this creamy dearth for quite a long time and with no ill effects, in fact the reverse may well be true, but the creation of a Mont Blanc dessert demands whipped cream. Aside from creme fraiche, all other French products purporting to be cream seem to be packaged in small tetrapacks, and have a shelf life of several decades. The contents of a selection of these cardboard time capsules, and I, have just done battle. Sturm und Drang had nothing on this confrontation: by the end of the confrontation I was so dranged out that I had to have a lie down. On the positive side, I have some whipped cream, although there were times when those words were but a dream. God knows what frightening proportions of shoulder and arm must have been possessed by French housewives before the introduction of electricity. Maybe the truth lies in the fact that there was real cream to be had before the electric age. Oh for the good old days when dentists had hand drills.